Free Press For Florists | Boost Flower Sales Without Spending Ad Dollars
In 2019 FloristWare was proud to sponsor the business sessions at the Great Lakes Floral and Event Expo, where former SAF President and industry favourite Shirley Lyon spoke to florists about how to get more out of their advertising budget.
Shirley, a successful florist in Eugene, Oregon for 44 years, shared a lot great ideas, but one of her favourite ways to get her shop’s name in front of potential new customers was to work with local news reporters on interesting stories where Shirley’s expertise could play an important role.
Valentine’s Day? Shirley showed a local reporter how to arrange roses. Breast Cancer awareness month? Shirley’s shop was featured in the paper when they ran a campaign called Bras for a Cause.
And the best part was that she didn’t have pay a cent to be featured in either of those stories.
Shirley worked hard to build a strong rapport with her local news reporters, and reached out to them with her own story ideas.
We know that approach is not for everyone, but the good news is there is an easier way for you to be a source for reporters looking for a florist’s (or small business owner’s) perspective on a story, through HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
What is HARO?
HARO is a website with over 800,000 registered users, connecting journalists and reporters with sources, knowledgeable people that can, as the name says, help them out.
Registration is free, and once you’re signed up you’ll start receiving daily emails listing the stories that require sources, and you can choose to reply to any that you think apply to you.
Easy Sign Up
Once you register as a source, you will receive HARO emails three times a day Monday through Friday ( 5:35 am, 12:35 pm and 5:35 pm ET). The emails are categorized by subject and you have the option to choose which subjects you’d prefer to be emailed about. You can also add more details about your location and shop which will help reporters.
To do this, click on “Update and add to your Account Details on your Welcome screen, or by going into My Account.
And here’s where you can specify the category or industry you’d like to receive emails about:
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are sensitive to overloading your inbox: by signing up for multiple categories, you’ll receive an additional email for each one, three times per day. So if you sign up for three categories, that’s 9 emails per day.
Source Requests and Pitches
Once you start receiving your emails, you can look for source requests that you can respond to.
If something is of interest, you can send a “pitch” back to the email in the source request. It’s important to answer any questions included in the source request, plus your bio and contact information.
The more info you send back with your pitch, the easier it is for the reporter to determine if you're a good fit for their story.
Here’s a sample of the General section of a HARO source request email:
To respond to any of these inquiries, you just need to click on the link to see the details. In this example, if you had some ideas for Fathers Day and clicked on #25, this is what you’d see
Note that your response goes back to a masked email address, you will not be contacting the reporter directly at this point.
One of the great things about using HARO is that it’s totally up to you to decide to respond. If you’re feeling swamped, you can ignore the emails… but if you’re curious and have a great idea you think could be of interest, you can give it a try at no cost.
Remember with PR you want to have some key words about your product… flowers make people happy and connected, but they also are proven to provide mental health benefits. (link to our blog stories).
So for example in the Father’s Day story above, when pitching to the reporter you’d want to describe how your floral product would honor and celebrate Dads, make them feel special, are easy to have delivered if Dad lives far away, etc.
You may find that day to day, there’s not much for you to respond to but in the lead up to major holidays like Valentines, Mother’s Day, or Prom or Wedding season, there will be many more opportunities for you to share your expertise.